Don’t worry, I am not “short changing you with this one as my regular article will run tomorrow… Just thought I would share this. I have often given reviews or shared insights with things I have come across in buying reference material. The long term project I am currently working is focused on McLaughlin-Millard Adirondack professional model bats from the 1950s and 1960s. Part of any work that I do usually involves buying reference material for the work and my library in general. Also as part of my research, I look for images that might be useful…thus bringing us to the topic of today’s rather brief article.
I came across this image of long time Louisville Slugger endorser and Hall of Famer Al Kaline. At first blush, I thought I had found a picture of Kaline using an Adirondack bat since the thing that caught my eye was the ring around the handle. The image was shot in such a manner that the center brand was clearly visible leaving little doubt that it was in fact a Louisville Slugger. The question I had was why mark a bat so that it appears to be one manufacturer when it is clearly another. This would have been easy to explain if Kaline was an Adirondack endorser but using a Hillerich & Bradsby product.
I found my answer in the book “More Tales from the Dugout” by Mike Shannon, pages 81-82. It seems that the Detroit Tigers equipment manager would move the player’s bats back and forth from the dugout to clubhouse in a shopping cart. Kaline decided he would mark his bats with tape at the handle area so they would be easier for him to pick out. The story goes on to describe that Louisville Slugger representative Pee Wee Reese had spotted this and was concerned about Kaline using a competitors product. I recommend you check out the rest of the story to see how it turned out.
Would love to hear from collectors who have 1950s and 1960s Adirondacks in their collections. Please feel free to drop me a line at:
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